Sonic Branding (1): What Is Sonic Branding?

What is sonic branding?What is sonic branding? That’s the most asked question when I tell people I am a sonic branding consultant. And when you know the answer, you will realise that you have a tremendous opportunity to:

  • increase your brand awareness,
  • differentiate you from your competitors,
  • connect with your audience on a deeper level,
  • create brand communities,
  • and at the end generate more sales and profits!

Definition of sonic branding

Sonic branding is thinking about music in a strategic way.

How does your brand, product or service sound like? It extends your visual communication with an audio identity.

According to Wikipedia, “sound branding (also known as audio branding, music branding, sonic branding, acoustic branding or sonic mnemonics) is the use of sound to reinforce brand identity. Sound branding is increasingly becoming a vehicle for conveying a memorable message to targeted consumers, taking advantage of the powerful memory sense of sound“.

Sonic branding is managing how you sound, making sure the effect is positive.

Visual Branding

Every day we experience a lot of messages from brands, products and services that try to get our attention. A lot of time, money and effort is put into branding to try to standout. The brand core values are translated into:

  • a house style with logo’s, colours and fonts,
  • how products look and feel,
  • packaging,
  • names, tag lines and advertising copy.

These are all visual outputs. During the branding process, there hardly is any attention for sound and music. Few people seem to understand the power of sound and music.

The power of sound and music

Sound, and in particular music, is very good in triggering memories. Therefore music and audio logos are a very strong tool in branding. Branding with both visual and audio elements is much stronger than branding with visuals only.

Sound and music influence our emotions on a subconscious level. Visual information on the other hand, needs to be processed and interpreted by our brain before it gets meaning.

And you can shut your eyes, but not your ears. An effect that also is mentioned in Dutch research of Mindshare together with Radio 538 about the effect of audio logo’s in radio commercials.

Personal power of music

In our personal life, we are very good in using the power of music. We listen to music:

  • to match our mood (sad when our heart is broken, happy when the sun is shining),
  • when we feel like dancing,
  • when we do sports,
  • to motivate ourselves,
  • to be part of a community.

Although musical taste is personal, music also has a community aspect. We like to be part of a community. And communities have their own music.

The power of sonic branding

With branding, you also want to create communities. You want to give your customers an experience. You want them to feel to be part of a community. The way Apple customers feel part of a community.

This is where sonic branding comes in and can help. Music and sound logos that matches your brand values can:

  • increase your brand awareness,
  • differentiate you from your competitors,
  • connect with your audience on a deeper level,
  • create brand communities,
  • and at the end generate more sales and profits!

Take it seriously!

Sound branding is more than an afterthought. And it is much more than selecting music for your next TV commercial!

Whereas music for commercials normally comes at the end of the process (and budget!), sonic branding is something to think about at the beginning. That means you have to:

  • invest time and money to translate your core values into sound and music,
  • use the knowledge and experience of a sonic branding consultant to do it right.

When done right, sonic branding will help your brand. When done wrong, or when selecting music based on mood and personal preferences, you probably won’t get the result you want.

Please contact me to find out how I can help you with your sonic branding.

Next blog posts

This is part 1 of a series about sonic branding. Next blog posts will be about:

  • why you should use sonic branding,
  • where and when you can use sonic branding,
  • audio logo examples,
  • research about sonic branding,
  • the process of sonic branding.

So stay tuned for that. If you want to be sure not to miss these next blog posts, please sign up for updates at the right.

In the meantime, please let me know your thoughts about sonic branding in general, and more specific: how you use the power of music in your life.

Kind regards,

Wouter Siteur – Composer & Sonic Branding Consultant

7 Comments on “Sonic Branding (1): What Is Sonic Branding?

  1. I’m currently have a research which related to this topic. Could you recommend me some reference for further learning about sonic branding?


    • Hallo Kim,

      Wat een leuk artikel om te lezen. We delen een achtergrond in marketing en passie voor muziek.

      En wat goed dat je ook aandacht besteedt aan sonic branding en daarbij naar mijn Engelstalige blog linkt.

      Erg goed ook dat je marketeers oproept om verder te denken dan het afspelen van commercials op Deezer of Spotify. Goed idee om beide diensten te gebruiken om te achterhalen waar je doelgroep naar luistert en daar op in te spelen. Door het maken van playlists. Of om op basis daarvan een eigen tune of audio logo te maken natuurlijk!

      Ik heb ook een Nederlandstalig blog: Daar kun je onder andere lezen over audio logo’s en hersenonderzoek naar het effect van muziek.

      Met vriendelijke groet,

      Wouter Siteur

  2. […] van week 8 ging over sounddesign. En dan vooral over het maken en het gebruiken van een sonic logo (klik hier) . Er werd verteld hoe je het beste een sonic logo kunt gebruiken en hoe je er een kunt creëren. […]

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